Fall 2015

After almost twenty years in education, Amar Patel has found that all of the repeated efforts to overcome deficits in American education (No Child Left Behind, UCSMP, Common Core, etc.) all fail to overcome the singular issue that haunts teachers and school systems in America: You can’t learn math without spending time doing it. Amar will present what he thinks can be done about it, to those who could do something to help.


There will be no MSTE Friday Lunch on November 13, 2015.


Louise Walder has been leading a garden club at Prosperity Gardens for several summers. She is a long-time gardener and loves to see children enjoy learning and discovering the world of vegetables and herbs. She will be discussing the possible link between the classroom and healthy eating at home.


The CSK8 Research Group (Maya Israel, Quentin Wherfel, Melinda Snodgrass, and Saad Shehab) will lead a discussion about the wide-ranging initiatives to include computer programming and computational thinking in K-12 instruction, and implications for academically diverse learners. They will also share their approach to studying computing education and some implications for K-12 instruction.


Dr. Mary Kalantzis has served as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006.

On October 16th, Dr. Mary Kalantzis will discuss multi-modalities in STEM teaching and learning and the affordances of new technologies.


Peter Braunfeld will be leading a discussion about Common Core. The Common Core Mission Statement asserts that "the standards are designed to be robust, and relevant to the real world." But a sampling of the Common Core test items utterly fails to support this thesis. This seminar is designed to help attendees understand the abyss between pious hopes and dismal reality.


May Berenbaum, head of the University of Illinois Entomology Department, will discuss why pollination makes for a great topic for K-4 education.


Alvarez Dixon, Extension Educator for Champaign and Vermillion Counties, will discuss his outreach work in STEM education and local Special Interest Clubs (SPIN), including the Teens as Teachers program which helps young people in the early high school years work with middle school-age youth as mentors in STEM topics. Bob Smith, also from 4-H, will share information on statewide SPIN clubs in robotics and other technologies, including computer science.


Suzanne Lee (Council of Teacher Education, College of Education) will provide an overview of the new teacher certification program, Ed-TPA, that is required this year for all new teachers. The talk will be presented with parents and other citizens in mind rather than education experts. Through this short presentation, I hope that participants will find out how to separate facts from hearsay about the program. I will also provide some links to resources to help those interested to learn more about the process and its impact on teacher training programs.


Getting students to embrace computational thinking and creative problem solving is not easy. But if done successfully, it can bring great benefits to the students now, and in the future. In this talk, Hon-Wai will discuss how he uses fun problems and activities to get students to unconsciously think about computational thinking. Some of these examples include MatheMagic, solving problems with graph coloring, CS UnPlugged activities (sorting networks, parity-based-puzzles, etc), creative use of induction, zero-knowledge proofs, pancake flipping problems.


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